Smart infusion gloves should reduce risk of trauma

Almost everyone who spent time in a hospital as a child remembers it clearly. Getting ice cream after your tonsils were cut or being thirsty when you woke up are not memories that keep you awake later. But being hospitalised for something more severe as a child can lead to lifelong traumas. According to research, one of the most traumatic experiences is getting an infusion. 

Saxion started a project with the name Achilles to end this trauma. They want to develop a smart infusion glove for children before the end of the year, together with Medisch Spectrum Twente (MST) and Deventer Hospital (DZ). With this idea, they won a Pioneers in Health Care voucher worth 60,000 euros.

In short:

  • SaxionMST and DZ are going to work on the development of a smart infusion glove. This should prevent children from suffering trauma when they need infusions.
  • The so-called Achilles project got off to a great start: the idea won a Pioneers Health Care voucher of 60,000 euros.

Global Goal

global goal icon

Project leader Jorrit de Jong from Saxion’s department of Sustainable and Functional Textiles explains why it is so important. “First, there is the puncture. Then the sight of the infusion tube being connected and the bandage to secure the infusion. The bandage has to come off regularly when the nurses check the wound. To see if the infusion has come loose, for example, as it does with mobile children. In that case, the process starts again. Paediatrician Boony Thio from MST saw this in practice and was driven to conduct research together to find a solution.”
The glove should make the sight of the infusion, its secureness and the inspection and care by nurses a less traumatic and more comfortable experience for children. “We want to make children in the hospital less vulnerable with this infusion glove”, says Jorrit. 

Staying mobile

Die oplossing moet zich, in de vorm van een slimme infuushandschoen, richten op drie zaken, vertelt Jorrit. “Kinderen met een infuus dragen nu een enorme brace. Die beperkt hen in hun bewegingsvrijheid. Met een handschoen of sleeve willen we bewerkstelligen dat het infuus goed gefixeerd wordt, maar dat kinderen ook kunnen blijven bewegen. Daarnaast richten we ons op de beleving van kinderen. De infuushandschoen moet er voor hen prettig uitzien. We denken aan het aanbrengen van een klepje, waarmee de verpleegkunde eenvoudig en snel het infuus kan controleren. Bij het optillen van het klepje, ziet het kind de infuuswond niet. Dat kan voor minder stress zorgen. Ten slotte willen we een sensor in de handschoen aanbrengen, die zelf de wond monitort. Dat zorgt voor minder verpleegkundige handelingen en dus ook weer voor minder stress. Stijgt bijvoorbeeld de wondtemperatuur, dan registreert de sensor dat, waardoor er bij een mogelijke ontsteking tijdig ingegrepen kan worden.”

The Pioneers in Health Care project, which lasts one year, asks for quick steps towards a prototype. It is what the PIHC concept intends: a kick-start and stepping stone towards further research. “We want to finish the prototype after the summer holidays, and the sensor technology should be added by Christmas. Saxion’s Ambient Intelligence department is also involved, and we are working closely with partners from the MST and DZ. These are, for example, several junior doctors from the Department of Paediatrics at MST. They know what procedures are involved.”

Involving children in the design

The intention is that the study will be closely linked to the reality in hospitals. “We aim to test the infusion glove and see how patients and nurses experience it. You have to avoid developing something purely based on technology. Do children like the glove? Does it look good, and is it comfortable? We want to involve children in the design, as we did with the Wearable Breathing Trainer, which we developed earlier. It is also important that nurses can work with the glove quickly and easily. They need to have confidence in the system because they will revert to their old way of working if they do not. The details are crucial in this design process. This is truly living technology. Close to the reality.”


The ACHILLES project should bring different perspectives together in this first year: that of the child, of the nurses and doctors, but also that of the designers, and the possibilities that textile and sensor technologies offer. “It is a nice project for us as a department, as well as for the Ambient Intelligence department. There are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved as well. We are already talking to an Industrial Design graduate, and a multidisciplinary Smart Solutions student group will be able to start working on this in September. If students or lecturers see education opportunities, I warmly urge them to contact me.”

Combined approach

What will be the biggest challenge in the coming year? “Really integrating the three focal points: making a glove or sleeve that is easy to secure, looks nice to children and works well technically.” This combined approach makes this project innovative and exciting, says Jorrit. And it has already generated many positive reactions, as it turns out: “We have noticed from the reactions, on social media, for example, how nice and important it is to everyone that we are designing something that reduces or prevents traumas in children. People from my network respond by saying they remember how difficult it was to see their children receive an infusion. My mother, a nurse forty years ago, told me that she saw children’s arms tied to the bed with the infusion in them. That is no longer the case, fortunately. We are taking the next step and have no doubt that this research is relevant.”

About Jorrit de Jong and the ACHILLES project

Jorrit de Jong has been involved with Jan Mahy’s Saxion department of Sustainable and Functional Textiles as a senior lecturer and researcher. Jorrit is also the quartermaster for the new Textiles for Health and care community, which will be launched in the Connect-U building at the Ariënsplein in Enschede on the 21st of April. 


The research into the ACHILLES glove, like the Wearable Breathing Trainer, fits in well with the activities of this community. Other communities on the city campus will focus on top sport, data and business models. 


The ACHILLES project is made possible thanks to a Pioneers in Health Care subsidy from Medisch Spectrum Twente, Ziekenhuisgroep Twente, Deventer Ziekenhuis, Reggeborgh Groep, the University of Twente and Saxion University of Applied Sciences. These partners will make the money available for medical-technological research. The emphasis is on applying new technology that leads to more patient-friendly and better care. 


Ko Wierenga
M.H. Tromplaan 28
7513 AB Enschede
+31 (0)88 019 8888

Date: 30 May 2022 |

Source of tekst: Saxion |

Author: Maaike Thüss